Thursday Reads

Trump’s new BFFs

Good Afternoon!!

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Shumer had dinner with Trump last night and some kind of “deal” was worked out, but no one can figure out what it was. Trump has been sending conflicting tweets about it and saying confusing things about it in Florida this morning.

The Washington Post: Trump, top A Democrats agree to work on deal to save ‘dreamers’ from deportation.

Democratic leaders announced late Wednesday that they agreed with President Trump to pursue a legislative deal that would protect hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants from deportation and enact border security measures that don’t include building a physical wall.

The president discussed options during a dinner at the White House with Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that also included talks on tax reform, infrastructure and trade. Trump has showed signs of shifting strategy to cross the aisle and work with Democrats in the wake of the high-profile failures by Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

We’re working on a plan for DACA,” Trump said as he left the White House on Thursday for a trip to survey hurricane damage in Florida.

Trump said that he and Congress are “fairly close” to a deal and that Republican leaders Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (Ky.) are “very much on board” with a deal that would address DACA. The agreement must include “massive border security,” Trump said in response to shouted questions about whether he had reached a deal on the terms Schumer and Pelosi had described.

“The wall will come later” [link to Axios added]  he said, apparently confirming a central element of the Democrats’ account.

There was instant backlash from Trump’s Cro-Magnon supporters, and the White House quickly tried to walk back whatever Trump agreed to when his handlers weren’t around.

Earlier Thursday, amid backlash from conservative supporters, Trump had sought Thursday to reach out to his GOP base with messages claiming his agenda would remain intact on signature issues such as the border wall.

In a series of tweets, Trump wrote that “no deal” was made on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, an Obama-era program that has allowed 690,000 dreamers to work and go to school without fear of deportation. He further wrote that agreements on “massive border security” would have to accompany any new DACA provisions, and insisted that “the WALL will continue to be built.”

I guess we’ll find out what’s going on eventually. It would certainly be a good thing if Congress can get its act together and do something to keep the Dreamers in the U.S.

Manu Raju of CNN had a great scoop last night that makes Devin Nunes look like even more of an idiot than ever before: Exclusive: Rice told House investigators why she unmasked senior Trump officials.

Former national security adviser Susan Rice privately told House investigators that she unmasked the identities of senior Trump officials to understand why the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates was in New York late last year, multiple sources told CNN.

The New York meeting preceded a separate effort by the UAE to facilitate a back-channel communication between Russia and the incoming Trump White House.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan

The crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, arrived in New York last December in the transition period before Trump was sworn into office for a meeting with several top Trump officials, including Michael Flynn, the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his top strategist Steve Bannon, sources said.

The Obama administration felt misled by the United Arab Emirates, which had failed to mention that Zayed was coming to the United States even though it’s customary for foreign dignitaries to notify the US government about their travels, according to several sources familiar with the matter. Rice, who served as then-President Obama’s national security adviser in his second term, told the House Intelligence Committee last week that she requested the names of the Americans mentioned in the classified report be revealed internally, a practice officials in both parties say is common.

Rice’s previously undisclosed revelation in a classified setting shines new light on a practice that had come under sharp criticism from the committee chairman, California Rep. Devin Nunes, and President Donald Trump, who previously accused Rice of committing a crime.Ja

Once again, Trump people were caught trying to communicate secretly with Putin, because of course foreign visitors are routinely monitored by the intelligence community.

In other Russia news, Michael Flynn’s son is now a subject in the investigation. NBC News reports:

Michael G. Flynn, the son of President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, is a subject of the federal investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election and possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign, according to four current and former government officials.

The inquiry into Flynn is focused at least in part on his work with his father’s lobbying firm, Flynn Intel Group, three of the officials said. It’s unclear when the focus on Flynn began.

Barry Coburn, who said he is serving as the younger Flynn’s legal counsel, said he couldn’t comment on the matter.

Flynn’s status as a subject of the Russia investigation widens the publicly known scope of the probe. NBC News has reported that those under investigation have included the elder Flynn and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. Others under scrutiny by special counsel Robert Mueller include Carter Page, a Trump campaign ally; Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser; and the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr.

Yesterday White House spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that James Comey committed a crime when he leaked his personal memos about interactions with Trump to The New York Times, and called on the Justice Department to investigate him. She also called on ESPN to fire a reporter who tweeted that Trump is a white supremacist. In any other White House, Sanders herself would be fired by now. The White House is not supposed to get involved in decisions by the DOJ and the White House calling for the firing of a journalist for dissing POTUS is wildly inappropriate.

From Politico, a response to the recent attacks on Comey by the Trump crowd: The Hapless Smear Campaign Against Jim Comey.

From the moment Steve Bannon stated in his 60 Minutes interview that President Donald Trump’s decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey was the biggest political mistake in modern presidential history, there simply was no chance that this week would proceed without a fair amount of political insanity. The fact that the president’s former chief strategist would publicly and brazenly disparage that decision was bound to result in a fierce White House pushback. And so it has. But over the past three days, the White House has repeatedly advanced flawed and in some instances preposterous legal arguments that don’t stand up to informed scrutiny.

The hijinks began on Monday, when White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed that information divulged after Comey was fired served as retroactive justification for the president’s decision. She alleged, among other things, that Comey had given “false testimony” and leaked “privileged information to journalists.” On Tuesday, Sanders did not repeat the “false testimony” claim, but she did reiterate the assertion that Comey had “leaked privileged government information” and speculated that his actions “could have been illegal.”

In Wednesday’s news briefing, reading from what appeared to be prepared notes, Sanders explained what she meant by “illegal”:

“The memos that Comey leaked were created on an FBI computer while he was the director,” she said. “He claims they were private property, but they clearly followed the protocol of an official FBI document, leaking FBI memos on a sensitive case regardless of classification violates federal laws including the Privacy Act, standard FBI employment agreement and nondisclosure agreement all personnel must sign.”

These talking points were presumably provided to Sanders by the White House Counsel’s Office, but as a litigator with considerable experience representing government officials and contractors (including whistleblowers) of all ideological persuasions, trust me: They are nonsense.

Click on the link to read the explanation.

Have you heard the latest outrage from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his trophy wife Louise Linton? The Washington Post reports: ‘The moochin’ Mnuchins’: Treasury secretary again is fodder for rich humor.

Just based on a quick Google search, the August exchange between Louise Linton, the wife of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and a critic of Linton’s fashion-bragging, mean-girl Instagram post seemed to be fading, along with memories of the eclipse, which the couple was lucky enough to have observed at Fort Knox.

But it all came rushing back when ABC News reported Wednesday evening that the Treasury Department had in fact requested a government jet for Mnuchin’s European honeymoon in Scotland, France and Italy. If the request had been granted, the plane would have cost the taxpayers roughly $25,000 per hour to operate.

A Treasury Department spokesman said in a statement that the request was made so that Mnuchin, who is a member of the National Security Council, would have access to secure communications as he traveled abroad.

Remember Linton’s attack on the woman who criticized her Instagram post after the Mnuchins used a government plane to fly to Fort Knox so they could watch the solar eclipse from the rooftop?

As the news rushed across social media, so did the memory of the Instagram episode, with one line in particular standing out among the now-regretted post by Linton:

“Adorable! Do you think the U.S. govt paid for our honeymoon or personal travel?! Lololol.”

Now for a change of pace, I thought you might like this archaeology story. The AP via The Toronto Sun: Well-preserved Viking sword found in Norwegian mountains.

COPENHAGEN — A Norwegian archaeologist says a well-preserved, if rusty, iron sword dating to the Viking erahas been found in southern Norway.

Lars Holger Piloe says the nearly one-metre-long sword was found slid down between rocks with the blade sticking out, and may have been left by a person who got lost in a blizzard and died on the mountain from exposure.

Piloe said Thursday the sword, dating from about 850-950 A.D., was found in Lesja, some 275 kilometres north of Oslo.

Piloe said the sword’s preservation was likely due to the quality of the iron, as well as the cold, dry conditions. It was found in late August by two men who were on a reindeer hunt some 1,640 metres above sea level.


What else is happening? What stories are you following today?

41 Comments on “Thursday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Greg Sargent on the DACA mystery: Trump’s latest tweetstorm signals major concessions may lie ahead

    Barely a few hours after Democrats announced that they had reached a tentative deal with President Trump on protecting the “dreamers,” Trump unleashed a steaming-hot morning tweetstorm that seemed to suggest that there was no deal at all.

    But make no mistake: If you read between the lines, Trump’s tweets actually signal the clear outlines of a deal that would, in fact, protect hundreds of thousands of young people brought here illegally as children, on terms that might end up proving acceptable to all sides — with the crucial exception of a few very loud voices on the right, who may be able to derail any such deal, as will be argued below.

    Read the rest at the WaPo.

    • NW Luna says:

      I’m not going to post a Drumpf tweet here, but he’s tweeting that people with jobs, serving in the military, here through no fault of their own, should be allowed to stay. I think Nancy & Chuck have reprogrammed him. How long will it last?

      • palhart says:

        Toddler Trump has to have adults come back and correct what he’s said or promised, or clean up his messes. It’s the result of a person, without principles or a vision for this country, who is needy only for an admiring, loyal public. We hear about his tantrums in the WH. Gen. Kelly has said recently no one in his long military career has disrespectfully spoken to, or yelled at, him as Trump has done. We must not normalize this childish behavior.

  2. NW Luna says:

    Conyers is too much of a statesman to intend this as such, but I think it’s a nice smackdown of Johnny-come-lately Sanders trying to grab all the glory for himself.

    • Enheduanna says:

      It’d be nice to hear Sanders give credit where it’s due. Not holding my breath.

    • palhart says:

      The terrible sadness to me as a baby boomer is the aging of states(wo)men like John Conyers, who is 88 years old, and Dianne Feinstein, 84. Also, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 84. If only I could be convinced that pre-50 year olds know what the slow progressive creep over decades has cost, and how easily the republicans and trump can stomp on the Constitution and civil rights. Party/personal power and greed can destroy us and our planet.

      (Grifter Mnuchin’s net worth is $400 million.)

  3. NW Luna says:

    BB, Nice presentation of the Trump-Pelosi-Schumer meeting and outcome. Love the Viking sword item!

    I hate Mnuchin’s entitled smirk.

  4. NW Luna says:

  5. dakinikat says:

  6. dakinikat says:

    • Enheduanna says:

      Those weaselly SOBs are lying – didn’t they say it was $100K worth? What a joke. I FKNG hate Zuckerburg and refuse to be on FB.

      • quixote says:

        The FB thing is just one more case where ignored crimes against women were training for bigger and “better” crimes. In FB’s case, it looks like treason. (Aiding and abetting the enemy is treason, right?)

        Trolls have been pushing stomach-churning hate against women through FB, but the megacorp never wanted to do anything about it. The dirty not-so-secret was that it increased traffic and “engagement.”

        Political hate speech is no different in increasing Faceblot’s profits. Except that women aren’t the main targets. And except that it got us an Orangehaired Dogpile for president*.

        And except that now there’s finally some noise about how nasty it is.

        • NW Luna says:

          I got emails yammering at me to come back, and that so-and-so who I’d never heard of had friended me. I don’t think I’ve ever been on Facebook. At the most I may have looked at it early on and said “nope!” after one visit.

          FB is all about data mining for dollars.

    • joanelle says:

      How could they not know, I’m sure they were paid money for those ads, it’s simple, just ‘follow the money’

  7. bostonboomer says:


    • palhart says:

      I wouldn’t bet on Zuckerberg doing anything substantial about these self-generated ads, or cyberbullying. It’s the wild, wild web where anything goes.

      I’ve been on Facebook 3 times. When I deactivated the first time, no response from them. The second time they threatened that if I left, I wouldn’t be allowed to return. They had the time to annoy me with many requests for more personal info on my site and to stream friends’ friends asking me if any were friends. After my third and last departure, they asked me to return with an enticement that several people, including “Victoria”, had befriended me.

      It’s a numbers game to pitch to advertisers and make more billions for Zuckerberg. Also, a cruel ,dark, life-threatening site for vulnerable people, especially children and teens.

  8. palhart says:

    Twenty minutes into HC’s interview: She’s excellent!
    So happy that I had 3 opportunities to vote for her.

    • bostonboomer says:

      It’s so refreshing to see a real journalist ask her substantive questions!

      • palhart says:

        I’m almost giddy after listening to her intelligent,
        well-formed answers. I was taken back to the
        2008 campaign where it was exciting.

    • Enheduanna says:

      Did you hear Hillary about FB? Rachel also noticed! Hillary is naming names and FB is on the list! Good for her and ITA.

    • RonStill4Hills says:

      It breaks my heart though that back in 2008, Rachel one of the most disappointing defections to Obam-bam.

      She was on Air America back in those days and I sent her more than one e-mail asking her to put down the Kool-Aid long enough to at least give Hills a fair hearing.

      She seems to get it now, “but too little too late?”

      • Enheduanna says:

        Oh Ron – I was thinking that exact thing last night as I watched. She was also a Berner, right?

        At the end, when she spoke to Lawrence O’Donnell as she signed off and he came on, she still seemed a smidgen reluctant to give Hills credit due. She *still* seemed surprised to find HRC is a nice person.

        • RonStill4Hills says:

          I don’t think she ever went all in for WeakEnd@Bernie like she did for Obama, but she was slow to support Hi;;s. Eventually she did.

  9. bostonboomer says:


    • NW Luna says:

      In other Trump news, the child pedestrian in a walkway with a green light shares the blame with the drunk teenaged driver who ran him over

  10. RonStill4Hills says:

    I believe in cautious optimism, but in this case I cannot muster any.

    I am not sure what Schumer and Pelosi are up to with the unseemly dance they are doing with the Supremacist-In-Chief but I am not please.

    Three main reason:

    1) You do not negotiate with a misogynist racist.
    2) He is a back-stabbing liar who does not honor his commitments,
    3) You do not negotiate with a racist misogynist.

    I have this image in my head of Hitler, Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin in a room, an Hitler is saying, “3.5 Million Jews, and that’s my final offer!”

    The Dems have no discipline, no unity and apparently no memory. You will not defeat Republican obstructionism by :showing them what bipartisan cooperation” looks like. They refused to have hearing on a Supreme Court vacancy!!! All business should be off the table until we get a POTUS who is “FIT” for office.

    They are eating our lunch.

    I fear the “Resistance” has already begun the “Capitulation.”

    • quixote says:

      Yeah. I have the same creepy feeling about trying to do anything with that Jabba-the-Hutt-thing wearing a suit.

      That said, if, IF, they’re actually able to avert some of the worst oozing out of this administration*, that’s a good thing.

      Time will tell who actually achieved what in this unsavory backscratching.

      • Enheduanna says:

        I was also hoping they could play him – it seems like he’s too dumb to think ahead and agrees with whoever the last person he spoke to is/was.

        Dems don’t have a lot of options – being outnumbered – at least for the moment. If they can protect the DACA recipients they should do so, even if it means dancing with der drumpf. We made a promise to those kids and I am seething at how callous this has all been towards them.

        • RonStill4Hills says:

          I totally understand what you are saying, but being decent, responsible, adults with integrity and compassion is killing us!!!

          • quixote says:

            Again: yeah. If you stop being a responsible compassionate adult you’ve already lost. If you go on being one, the hostage-takers can destroy everything you care about because you don’t want the hostages hurt.

            Solution? God knows. I sure as hell can’t see one if the situation gets to this point. Prevention would work, but it’s too late for that.

            About the Dreamers specifically, the US Government made a promise to them. They’re under contract, so to speak. Breaking it is no different from refusing to pay promised interest on Treasury bonds. But the Dogpile with the Orange Do thinks contracts are just things you use to cheat rubes.

  11. RonStill4Hills says:

    Hills was amazing on Rachel yesternight.

    So straight forward. No mincing of words or biting of tongues! 🙂

    She seems so liberated and happy.

  12. Sweet Sue says:

    I have this image in my head of Hitler, Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin in a room, an Hitler is saying, “3.5 Million Jews, and that’s my final offer!”

    Ron, I have to admit that made me laugh in a very dark way.

    • RonStill4Hills says:

      Well Twitler is supposed to be all about making a deal. 🙂

      How many times do we make deals with the Devil before we figure out that there is no winning.

      Cast him out and start over!

  13. NW Luna says:


  14. NW Luna says: